How to Like Your Daughter Again
You love your teenage daughter–but do you like her?
It’s common for moms to worry, obsess, and do their best to love their daughters. But if they’re honest, what with the entitled attitude, defiant actions, and impulsive tongue, it’s often hard to like them.
Bottom line: it’s hard to like someone who disrespects you and makes you feel like a failure.
But if this rings true for you, don’t give up yet! This is not the end of the movie, it’s still the beginning. Hold on to your seats, because the plot is about to turn around.
I have seen it thousands of times with my clients. I have seen the down-and-out girl turn her life around and live a happy, successful life. I have seen raging mothers and daughters turn their relationship around to create a loving, playful, and authentic connection.
Many of you are grieving the loss of your Disney princess. It feels as if she has been invaded by defiant aliens.
But your little girl still exists. She’s buried under teenage bravado and antics, but every once in a while, you will catch a glimpse of her–especially if you’ll embrace the suggestions we’ll get to in a moment.
At this point you may be thinking,
“Is it even possible to have a good relationship with my teenage daughter?”
But it’s going to look different from any other relationship. You need a different set of criteria and expectations to evaluate a teenage relationship.
“What does a healthy relationship with my teenage daughter look like?” you ask. This is the million-dollar question, because it’s complicated on several levels. If the relationship feels confusing, it’s not just you.
It’s difficult because of where your daughter is, both developmentally and emotionally. And it’s hard, because relational tension is a normal part of the mother and daughter relationship.
There are huge developmental changes happening in your teenage daughter. Teenage girls are supposed to strive for more autonomy and independence. It’s normal for teenage girls to be less dependent on parents, more detached. This can be confusing, because your daughter is on a continuum between dependence on you and increasing independence. Sometimes she begs for your attention, and other times she acts as if she doesn’t know you. It’s easy to see why moms get confused and hurt.
Her emotions are all over the place. Understanding her physiological development will be helpful here (we’ll talk more about this in the next chapter). One morning she plops on your bed telling you lots of stories. Thirty minutes later she slams the door and wants to be alone. Two hours later, she passes you in the kitchen and says, “Hey, Mom,” as if nothing ever happened. No wonder you don’t know where you stand!
Though she looks like an adult, she needs your guidance more than ever.
If you’re doing your job as a parent, there’s going to be tension. Your job is to protect her and provide structure for her. She has to comply with your rules and, when she doesn’t, there are consequences. You have the power and money, and she doesn’t, which sets you up as the adversary. At the same time, she is growing in her maturity and responsibility and is supposed to push for more independence. Sounds like tension to me.
But despite all of these challenges, it is possible and crucial to have a healthy relationship with your daughter through her teenage years. Even though she is depending on her friends more and developing her own autonomy, a secure attachment with your daughter matters significantly.
In fact, recent studies from Attachment Theory reveal that a secure attachment between a parent and teenager is linked to competence in peer relationships, absence of depression and anxiety, better coping strategies, and absence of delinquent behavior. It also positively affected their performance and well-being in several areas.
There are three elements that make a secure attachment:
- You are there for her.
- You are tuned in.
- You are responsive.
Let’s explore each of these elements….
(This is an excerpt from Chapter 6 in my upcoming Power Your Parenting Book.)
Don’t Worry. You can like your daughter again. My Power Your Parenting Program can help. It is starting Monday October 7th. Many of the moms who have taken this program didn’t think they could have a good relationship with their daughters.
But they were wrong!
This program turned things around. Now the drama is gone and they really like their daughters.
An added bonus is the quality of moms who participate from all over the country. They are surprised and comforted to find they are not alone. We all struggle with similar things. PYP gives you the map and strategy with tons of support. If you are ready to change things at home, don’t miss it. Power Your Parenting Program is for a small group of moms and is filling up. This is the last time I am offering this program this year.
Call now at 713-408-6112 and we can set up a short “Mom Chat” and see if this is a good fit for you.